Participants during the visit to the paddy fields. – ASEAN-JAPAN CENTRE
TOURISM and agriculture seem to be most apart from each other, but ASEAN tourism stakeholders learnt that agriculture can become a tourism asset.
The ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) conducted a ‘Workshop on Sustainable Tourism: Agritourism’ from October 14 to 19 in Tokyo and Aomori prefecture, Japan.
It was organised for the management-level stakeholders in tourism from both the government and the private sectors of ASEAN member states to learn how the Japanese government and communities use agritourism to attract more visitors.
A total of 21 participants joined this workshop.
After receiving lectures by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan on agritourism and ‘countryside stay’ where tourists enjoy local lifestyle by staying at farms and traditional houses, the participants visited Aomori Prefecture to see the examples of agritourism that are implemented in promoting local tourism.
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In Aomori, they were briefed on how apples, one of the major local products, are used in tourism promotion and tourist attractions, and were introduced to a rice paddy art site where rice paddies turn into a tourism attraction during a certain time of year.
Agritourism is receiving increasing attention as a category of tourism that would cater to repeat travelers who tend to seek diverse local experiences and destinations with individuality.
It is also considered as an educational programme that provides people with the opportunity to experience farming.
It is expected that this workshop will help the development of the unique and sustainable tour products and programs even in the agriculture areas in ASEAN member states.
Many participants commented in the questionnaire at the end of the programme that they gained new knowledge on agritourism and wish to apply the ideas which they learned from the workshop to their own countries, while some were impressed to learn how many tour products have been produced from a single agriproduct, apples.
The AJC will continue to make efforts to enhance sustainable tourism development in the ASEAN member states by providing capacity-building programs for local tourism stakeholders highlighting Japanese agritourism cases. – ASEAN-Japan Centre